Regulators declined full inquiry into GM ignition flaws
WASHINGTON Federal regulators decided not to initiate a formal investigation of problems with the ignition switches on Chevrolet Cobalts and other cars even after an investigative group reported that it knew about 29 complaints, four fatal crashes, and 14 field reports that showed the problem was preventing air bags from deploying, according to a memo released by House investigators Sunday.
A House subcommittee will open hearings Tuesday, to learn why government investigators never converse uk realized there was a generic problem with the ignition systems of the Cobalt and other vehicles. The ignitions could switch off if the key was bumped, shutting off the engine and disabling the air bags.
The findings about the complaints and crashes appeared in a PowerPoi converse uk nt presentation dated Nov. 17, 2007, that was found among 6,000 pages of documents submitted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in answer to a request by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
But officials at converse uk the safety agency Office of Defects Investigation, to whom the presentation was given, told committee staff investigators that panel did not identify any discernible trend and decided not to pursue a more formal investigation. committee also revealed Sunday that Delphi, the supplier that made the ignition switch, told General Motors in February 2002 before the first vehicle to use the switch even hit the road that the part did not meet General Motors specifications.
The hearing will be held by the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee.
On Sunday, the chairman of the full committee, Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, said in a statement, problems persisted over a decade, the red flags were many, and yet those responsible failed to connect the dots. T. Barra, GM chief executive, and David J. Friedman, the agency acting administrator, are scheduled to testify.
In that case, it was faulty Firestone tires on slightly top heavy Ford Explorers that made the vehicles prone to rolling over. Scores died before any trend was recognized.
In the Cobalt case, the committee report said that General Motors knew it had a problem with the ignition switches, now linked to at least 13 deaths, even before the first model that used the switch was on the road.
The problem is primarily linked to the Chevy Cobalt, and Cobalts in model years 2005 to 2007 have been recalled. But it was also used in the Saturn Ion, and according to the committee, pre production report for the MY 2003 Saturn Ion identified issues with the ignition switch, including converse uk detent plunger force, in other words, a spring that was not strong enough to hold the ignition in position.